Female hair thinning can be frustrating and is less common in women. (Thinning hair is not an entirely male preserve.) Your diet may contribute to this problem. Vitamin D deficiency can affect the health of hair follicles. Eating more polyunsaturated fats, like oily fish and nuts, can help you get higher amounts of nutrients.
Causes attributable to hair thinning in females including hormone imbalances:
I. Going through the menopause.
II. An underactive thyroid gland.
III. Certain medicines.
IV. Stress, childbirth and crash diets.
V. Iron deficiency (even if you are not anaemic).
VI. Insufficient protein in your diet.
VII. Celiac’s disease and gluten intolerance can also contribute to hair loss.
Exercise helps pump nutrients and blood to all parts of the body, including the scalp. Stress and dermatological problems such as dandruff, fungal infections, and psoriasis may also cause female hair thinning. Meditation and yoga, a new hobby or taking a holiday is helpful in reducing stress. Talking to our doctor to find the reason for your hair loss and getting the right solution will help you to understand your condition, give alternative methods you can try and investigate further if intervention is considered necessary.
Some women with an iron deficiency experience hair thinning. To find out if you have an iron deficiency, the doctor will test your blood iron levels. This is especially important if you have heavy menstrual bleeding or a history of anaemia or you are a strict vegetarian. If this condition is diagnosed, you will need to take an iron supplement to prevent hair loss.
Some women who have androgenic alopecia may benefit from taking anti-androgens such as Spironolactone. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) tend to produce excess androgens. Spironolactone and oral contraceptive are usually prescribed together. Women who are taking these drugs should not become pregnant as it can cause genital defects in a male foetus. Depression, weight gain, fatigue, and loss of libido are possible side effects of taking these drugs.
A hair loss condition known as Alopecia typically presents as a complete lack of hair either in patches across the scalp or total hair loss. Less often affected are the eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease where your body’s immune system attacks it. (It may only affect your hair.) It is important to note you are slightly at a higher risk if you have other autoimmune conditions i.e. underactive thyroid or rheumatoid arthritis. It may also be genetic unfortunately and runs in families, with men and women equally affected.
Some types of cancer treatments i.e. chemotherapy, can prevent hair growth, which is why hair loss in this circumstance is quite common. Wearing an ice cap on your head before treatment starts sometimes helps. Talk to your cancer nurse first.
Please remember that skin having been previously been adequately protected by your hair will be subjected to strong sunlight so hats should be worn to prevent burning with the possibility of later malignant change.
The good news is that the hair follicles your hairs grow from are not permanently damaged, and many people regain a full head of hair within months. In fact, as long as less than half your scalp is affected, you have every chance of a full recovery within a year. The older you are conversely the better your chances are of regaining a full head of hair.
Treatment depends on the leading cause of the problem and the type of hair loss you are experiencing. Scarring alopecia, pattern baldness, and chemotherapy are the most common types of hair loss. Treatment options include gels, medications, surgery, creams, and injections.
Medications include Minoxidil. It is a medication for people with high blood pressure and has been found to help people with hair loss/thinning. Research studies indicate that Minoxidil, as a topical cream, if applied directly to the scalp stimulates hair growth. However, it does not make your hair thicker overnight. The effect takes around 4 months, but it could take up to a year. Before applying Minoxidil, make sure that your scalp and hair are dry. Apply twice to the area where the hair is thinning and massage it into your scalp with your fingers. You should not shampoo your hair for at least 4 hours afterwards.
Some women experience hair thinning due to iron deficiency. If you have this condition, you’ll need to take an iron supplement to stop hair loss. To determine if you have an iron deficiency, the doctor will test your blood iron level especially if you have heavy menstrual bleeding or history of anemia or you are a vegetarian.
Androgens can contribute to hair loss as well. Some women who have androgenic alopecia may benefit from taking anti-androgens such as spironolactone. Women with PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome tend to produce excess androgens. Spironolactone and oral contraceptive usually are prescribed together. Women who are taking these drugs shouldn’t become pregnant as it can cause genital defects in a male fetus. Depression, weight gain, fatigue, and loss of libido are possible side effects of taking these drugs.
Hair transplants may also be used to treat female hair thinning. A strip of scalp is removed from the back of your head and used to fill in the bald area. Ninety percent of hair transplant surgeons today use a method called the FUT, also known as the "Strip method". The FUT (follicular unit transplant) procedure is recommended for those with more extensive hair loss. They divide a narrow strip of scalp into hundreds of tiny grafts that contain only a few strands of hair. These are then inserted in a slit made by a needle or blade into the bald spot in your scalp. The hair grows in small clusters, so appears more natural and much better than transplants of the past.
An alternative method is FUE Hair Transplant technique. (Follicular unit extraction) individual graft harvesting involving small clumps of 2 - 4 follicles which are then extracted, separated, and then transplanted into the affected area(s). We recommend discuss your options with a qualified hair surgeon who will assess your suitability.
For extensive hair loss, steroid injections and cream into and on your scalp may help. However it is less effective.
If your hair starts thinning it is worth seeing our doctor. Medications, an underactive thyroid, or iron deficiency may be the cause, and these can definitely be treated.
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